First-generation student Brenda Flores, from Stanfield, Ore., developed her interest in advocacy and social change during her time on campus. She earned a double degree in Spanish and Public Policy and Administration, with a minor in Communications. What a combination!
What do you love most about WOU?
I love how small the classes are because I am able to get to know my professors and get more help from them, how helpful my advisors are and how much the Student Enrichment Program has helped me with college especially my awesome advisor Alicia Monrroy! I would have been struggling so much if I didn’t have her help and my parents love her! The events on campus are great and I’m definitely going to miss the Holiday Tree Lighting. I really enjoyed my time at WOU and even though I’m excited to graduate, I’m going to miss being on campus.
Outside of class, what were you involved in on campus?
I was involved in MEChA, Unidos, Student Activities Board and was an ASWOU Intern. I also did internships outside of campus at Causa and with an immigration lawyer. With the extracurriculars on campus, I really enjoyed being busy and being involved. I met so many great people and made a lot of memories. I really enjoyed being on campus all the time for meetings or events because it’s what I liked and it’s better than staying at home. With my internships off campus, it did reduce my time to be on campus but in a way I’m thankful for that because I was able to learn more about myself and what skills I had outside of school.
What are your plans for after graduation?
My plan after graduation is to work as a legal assistant at an immigration law office and continue to fight for the underrepresented communities!
What advice do you have for current and future Wolves?
Enjoy every moment because it goes by really quick! Trust me, I thought it would go slow like in high school but it went by fast in a blink of an eye. Reach out to your advisors or anyone when you need help. Don’t understand the class you’re taking? Go to your professor’s office hours, they’ll do their best to help you understand and pass! Don’t forget to call your parents or any family member. They’ll be glad you called because they miss you and you’ll miss them too. And most importantly: SELF CARE! Always put your mental and physical health first. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to make an appointment at the Health and Counseling Center, they are very helpful. Remember that you’re not alone and that you’ll get through anything that is thrown your way.
What was it like traveling for conferences surrounding DACA/social change/immigration?
I had the opportunity to travel to Washington DC to join the fight for a Clean Dream Act. It was an incredible experience that I would never forget. It’s inspiring to see so many wonderful leaders from around the state and being able to learn from them. It is very emotional as well because of the stories that are told but those who share are so strong. If you have the opportunity to go to a conference, protest or anything for social change, take it because you get to see and learn about issues that you probably didn’t know about.
Can you talk about your passion for issues around social change?
My passion for issues around social change such as fighting for the undocumented community started since I was a young girl. I have seen many family members struggle due to their status and I just didn’t want other families to go through that. I’m glad that there was organizations and clubs like MEChA and Unidos that helped my passion grow even stronger and I was able to meet people who felt the same way! It’s never too late to learn about these important issues. Even though I’m graduating, I will still continue fighting for my community as well as others.